There are mixed emotion about this year’s Salon International de Haute Horlogerie or SIHH, where watchmakers from across the globe have showcased more than 200 timepieces. Some of the themes that dominated the floor were watches with moon phases and dreamy candy colors. Somewhere under the festivities was the somber acceptance of the global luxury market heading to uncertainty – a lot of this does impact future productions of watches. As you know it takes many months of research and preparations to get out a new collection. In any case, next year SIHH will not be held in January, it is being moved closer to the time when the world converges for Basel World. Amongst the many Cartier, Roger Dubuis, Bovet, Panerai, Piaget, Tag Heuer, Bulgari, Ulysse Nardin, Girard Perregaux and Hublot, that made their debut this year, let’s look at our Top 5 picks.
A very skeletal interpretation of the landmark 1904 wristwatch, the SIHH 2019 Santos de Cartier Skeleton Noctambule is majestic and very much in demand. During the day, the watch looks its humble self, but at night, the Super-LumiNova coated bridges illuminate the waif dial. Housed under the hood is the Manufacture calibre 9612 with manual winding and the whole construction accommodates the skeletonized bridges in a way that reflect Roman numerals. The power reserve on this watch is 72 hours and the 38 mm case comes in stainless steel with black ADLC bezel. Other options include stainless steel with yellow gold bezel or rose gold. Water resistant to 30 meters, you can pick this watch up for $27,000.
Jaeger-LeCoultre is taking the cake when it comes to packing in complications into one watch. It may not be the most complicated watch, but certainly is very exciting. Imagine cramming in a minute repeater with Westminster chimes, multi-axis tourbillon that works with a remontoir d’égalité, Gyrotourbillon and a perpetual calendar. In terms of specs, the watch boasts of a 43mm case, which is quite substantial. The day of the week, the month and the year are displayed digitally. Crafted in 18k white gold with sapphire crystal and sapphire caseback, the watch is water-resistant to 30m. Inside you will find a in-house – hand-wound Calibre 184 that manages only 52 hours of power reserve. Limited to only 18 watches, you get only two options: blue guilloché enamel or silver-grained. Reserve one for $ 914,500.
More than two centuries under its belt (264 years to be precise), and Vacheron Constantin can still stun us with their creations. The exemplary track record means that we have another cool watch for this year: The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar. The cool-quotient of the watch comes from the fact that the movement beats at a high frequency – factoring the hectic pace of wearer, and also displaying on the dial the essentials like the hours, minutes, date, month, leap year cycle and power reserve. The in-house developed calibre 3610 QP will give you 65-days of power reserve, provided you slow down a few notches and keep it in the standby mode. So the choice of an active mode leads to 4-days of power reserve. The hand-wound perpetual calendar will display the accurate date and month, despite being kept aside for about two-months. The 42 mm case is crafted in platinum and is teamed with a transparent sapphire-crystal caseback. Water resistant to 30 meters, the watch can be picked for $199,000.
I am a little partial to Panerai watches and there is nothing that I have that can mask my admiration for the Panerai Submersible Mike Horn Edition PAM 984 and PAM 985 Watches. Dedicated to the brand ambassador (and explorer) Mike Horn, the two watches have a minor difference – colors of Super-LumiNova used. This small difference is actually quite big and makes a huge impact on the visual appeal of the watches. While the unlimited edition, green green Super-LumiNova (PAM00984), looks regal and sophisticated, it’s the limited edition (only 19 watches up for grabs), blue Super-LumiNova (PAM00985) watch that makes me skip a beat, thanks to its uber-chic and easy looks. Under the hood is an in-house movement – the Panerai P.9010, and give about 72 hours of power reserve. The case is crafted from EcoTitanium and is 47 mm – more than substantial on the wrist. Water resistant to 300m, the Submersible Mike Horn Edition takes a jab at including eco-friendly strategies to the manufacturing of this series.
Taking a leaf from the call of duty in the aviation / military space, IWC wows us with two new watches in Top Gun collection. Called the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun IW389101 and the IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic Top Gun IW326901, we see a lot of references to the aviation industry in the craftsmanship. The Chronograph features a dial that is 44.5mm in diameter, but the Pilot’s watch automatic is a tad smaller and measures 41mm in diameter. Under the hood for Chronograph is an in-house IWC 69380 movement (46-hour power reserve), but the Pilot’s Watch Automatic uses the in-house 32110 (72-hour power reserve). Both watches boast of a Black Ceramic case teamed with Sapphire. The Chronograph costs $7,550 and the Automatic costs $5,500.